Friday Night Hikes
If you’re like me, you know that the phrase “Friday Night Lights” refers to high school football games, not only in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State but across the United States. My family and I have put our own spin on this concept by starting “Friday Night Hikes” as we are fortunate to have access to hundreds if not, thousands of miles of public trails throughout the region. On many Friday evenings throughout the spring, summer and fall before hunting season consumes my time, we explore some of the different trails, letting the stress from the week fade away.
Sometimes it will be my wife and our two kids, however as most couples can relate to, there are times that the kids our excluded, thus making it a date night. While I appreciate spending time with my two sons, it is nice to spend some time with just her like the good old days. Ding, there is another text message with a trail suggestion from her, time to lace up the boots and head out! One Friday evening in early September we ventured out on the North/South Trail located at Fillmore Glen State Park. While taking in the spectacular views of the waterfall, we cracked open a can of hard cider that we had packed from the Three Brothers Wineries and Estates, located in Geneva.
After a week of working or being home due to a pandemic, it is beneficial to get the kids outside in nature, especially so that they can burn off some energy. On occasion they have brought a football and we will play catch while walking. Other hikes turn into teaching lessons on nature and science, thus allowing them to get firsthand knowledge of the environment. It also aids in us being able to disconnect from all the technology that infiltrates our lives, myself probably being the biggest offender, allowing a chance to recharge. Although we don’t completely abandon the cell phone as we usually bring them along for photos and in case of an emergency.
Surprisingly, we even have discovered new trails that are near where we live that we didn’t even know existed. I would suggest checking out any of the free apps that you can download on your phone. You never know what hidden gems could be located not too far from you. A few of these apps provide user reviews so that you can determine if it would be worth exploring or if your canine friends can tag along as well. While this is a new tradition for my family and I, we have found it has helped us decrease the amount of stress that we accumulate from the week. Nearly all the trails are free to use and open every day of the week, so you can determine your own time to try this out and create some memories.
Joel M. Herrling is a freelance writer and amateur wildlife photographer, and a member of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association. Photos courtesy of Joel M. Herrling.